Movement: Contemporary Art
Education: University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA
“I love the idea of two incompatible worlds brought together - opposing forces harmonically melded.”
“Jean Louis,” 2005
“Pink Seated Couple,” 2006
“Father and Son,” 2006
“The Comedian,” 2012
George Condo is an American contemporary visual artist, known for his wide repertoire of work in the varied mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. He currently lives and works in New York City. Condo is best known for his version of Contemporary Pop Art which very often depicts his subjects in comical poses.
George Condo was born in 1957 in Concord, New Hampshire. As a child, Condo was deeply interested in music, and he pursued this interest by playing the guitar and composing music alongside painting and drawing which he took to at an early age. In 1976, joining the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he enrolled for studies in Art History and Music Theory. He left the University in 1978 and relocated to Boston. Here, he was involved in composing and performing music. In 1979, Condo went to New York City to follow a full-time career in the arts.
In the late 1980s, Condo became friends with actress, filmmaker, and writer Anna Achdian. They were married in 1989, and now have two daughters. They currently reside on the Upper East Side, Manhattan.
When he began his art career in the 1980s, Condo coined the term “Artificial Realism.” This, he said, meant the “realistic representation of that which is artificial.” His style of painting was an amalgamation of the traditional style of the Old Masters combined with the American pop art style, something previously unthinkable.
Between 1981 and 1983, Condo exhibited widely in numerous East Village galleries in New York. During this period, Condo also worked under Andy Warhol in the latter’s silkscreen production unit. In 1983, Condo exhibited for the first time in Los Angeles at the Ulrike Kantor Gallery, and later the same year, he visited Europe for the first time. Condo settled in Cologne in Germany for a brief period, and exhibited for the first time in Europe at Monika Sprüth Gallery in 1984.
In Europe, Condo met Barbara Gladstone, an art dealer, at whose galleries he exhibited in 1984 in New York. They became good friends. During this time, he also developed a close friendship with Keith Haring, an American artist and philanthropist, that lasted until the latter’s death in 1990. In Paris, Condo also became acquainted with Pierre-Félix Guattari, a French philosopher, semiologist, and psychotherapist, who later wrote expansively on Condo’s work.
From 1985 to 1995, Condo continuously shifted base between New York and Paris, frequently living in hotels. When in Paris, he met William Seward Burroughs. An extensive collaboration ensued between them from 1988 to 1996. Sculpture and paintings aside, Condo and Burroughs also jointly wrote and etched; their collection called “Ghost of Chance” was published by the Whitney Museum in 1991.
Condo’s work influenced and inspired numerous artists and writers, including Demosthenes Davvetas, Salman Rushdie, John Currin, Lisa Yuskavag, and Glenn Brown.
In 2011, the New York City held a mid-career retrospective of Condo's artwork, called the “Mental States.” It was hailed as a brilliant exhibition, even called “sensational” by the “New York Times.” It traveled to many important galleries in Europe, as well.
In 1999, Condo received the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000, he was the focus of a documentary titled “Condo Painting.” The film tracks the progress of Condo’s painting “Big Red,” and features his close friend, the late poet Allen Ginsberg. Between 2005 and 2008, he received many prestigious awards.
George Condo is also famous for designing album covers for pop artists such as Kanye West and Drake. His art has been evolving, and after a brief near-death encounter in 2013, it has become even more psychologically exploratory. Before he painted real figures, many of his portraits have had entirely imaginary subjects, with anatomical parts spread across the canvas; he called this “psychological cubism.” Condo has arrived at a unique blend of pop art with a comical, psychological twist which appeals to all sections of society.
Unknown, 1957 - Present
1976-79 - University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts
1989 - Married Anna Achdian
1999 - Academy Award in Art, American Academy of Arts and Letters
2005 - Francis J. Greenberger Award
2008 - Annual Artist’s Award from Arts Connection, New York, and the Anderson Ranch National Artist Award.
2013 - “George Condo: Paintings & Sculpture”, Sprüth Magers Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
2012 - “George Condo: Mental States”, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany.
2011 - “George Condo,” PRISM Gallery, Los Angeles, US
2011 - “George Condo, Mental States,” New Museum, New York
2010 - “Family Portraits,” Sprüth Magers, Berlin, Germany
2009 - “George Condo,” Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan, Italy
2009 - “George Condo,” Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium
2009 - “KolnSkulptur 4,” Skulpturenpark Koln, Cologne, Germany
2009 - “La Civilisation Perdue,” Musée Maillol, Paris, France
2006 - “George Condo,” Wrong Gallery, Tate Modern, London, U.K.
2005 - “One Hundred Women,” Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg, Austria (exh. cat). This exhibition traveled to Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefield, Germany
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC